Posts Tagged ‘blackmoth’

Monday, April 5th, 2010

Some of the key differences between magnetized (that is, pre-digital) videotape and celluloid film are the quantitative shifts in the following three categories:

1. Memory storage capacity.

Videotape, as a media storage device, holds more temporal information and affords un-interrupted recording.

2. Affordability.

Videotape is less expensive then celluloid film.

3. And mobility.

Video cameras are lighter than film cameras and videotape is more robust in more light conditions then celluloid film.

That is to say, automatic moving image reproductions are—with the onset of magnetized videotape in the 1960s anyway–no longer quite as precious.

Just shoot–shoot a lot; shoot at your house; shoot at the park; shoot down time, not just up time—just shoot.

Many artists began to explore video’s unique relationship to time.

Bruce Nauman, for example–in a particular series of videos from the late 1960s—pictures the artist not as one who represents an act of creation, but rather as one who (through the technology’s ability to depict greatly extended units of un-interrupted time) represents creating.

One views Nauman stomp on the ground of his bare artist studio in a rigorous rhythm for approximately 60 minutes.

Or one views him adjust a piece of wood, never quite getting it right, for the same amount of time.

These projects can be read as allegories about creation.

The artist never gets it quite right; every stomp or every movement of the wood is a failure.

What is more important is the evolving process of creation.

In the wake of videotape technology, though, a further series of media storage mutations have come and gone which result in the end of material storage devices such as videos or hard drives and the birth of the virtual data cloud—the immaterial field of code transformed into information signage—both private as well as public–hovering in, out, and around one’s physical locations in space.

Each one of these generational mutations, then, has necessitated subsequent mutations in the pictures artists draw of their own body performing actions through time.

Kari Altmann, for example, considers her work to be located not in individual works (as meaningful as they may be), but rather in her avatar inside the data cloud wherein one views her perform the excavation and molding of her own artistic archive in mutable cloud-space, cloud-time.

Sometimes she’ll just add an image for research or edit an older project; sometimes she’ll list, but not show new projects she’s working on; sometimes she’ll add a new video; sometimes she’ll take a video away; and so on and so on and so on and so on in a plethora of permutations one follows the artist play with her own cloud data:

Change, evolve—not to “better” data, just different data—data occurring in an ecological network of additional data networks which are—as a whole–growing and becoming self-reflexive, becoming visible to themselves (and its self).

The performative focus here, then, is not on the physical body repeating an action, but rather on the virtual body mutating its own archival network.

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010 is a website by Kari Altmann.

The content of the site is a relatively lengthy, vertically-scrolling display of approximately seventy still images and YouTube video players set off against a white background–no text.

That in itself is nothing new—artists have been making these types of heterogeneous found image displays for some time now and, as Seth Price points out in his Teen Image essay, the style is itself lifted from something print magazines have been exploring for at least fifteen years.

But what distinguishes Altmann’s project from what Price terms “hoardings” is the self-reflexive intentionality of her particular images.

She wants to show you something in particular: time, decay, built-in obsolescence.

We see collisions of two themes: obsolete technologies of the “just past” such as compact discs or previous generations of flat-screen televisions as well as crumbling architectural details and rock formations of the ancient past.

In the most potent images, we see both at once—dialectically.

The first diptych of images at the top of the page gets at this.

In the image to the left of the diptych, one views what appears to be two fangs—the sort of relic one might see in a display of fossils and bones of pre-historic animals at a natural history museum.

However, there is a USB connection sticking out of their base of each of these fangs.  Their power resides not in the prick of their tips, but in the information they store as little Flash Drives.

In the image to the right of the diptych, one views a broken slab of what, at first glance anyway, reads as an “ancient monument”—perhaps a temple–displayed behind a glass cube in a museum setting.

As one scrolls-down through the rest of Altmann’s images, this tension is explored again and again and again.

Through the repetition of the theme of technology and ancient ruins, Altmann creates of portrait of endless technological obsolescence.